Running form and soreness on forefoot

Discussion in 'Barefoot & Minimalist Running' started by Thatonebloke94, Jun 11, 2022.

  1. Thatonebloke94

    Thatonebloke94 Barefooters

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    I started running barefoot on an asphalt running track in February 2022 (walk and run 1-2 miles 2-3 days a week). Last month, I decided to take a step back to focus on my form, so I now run 1-1.5 miles 2-3 days a week. While I have been enjoying my new activity, it has also brought to my attention a few questions:

    1. Are there any tips out there on how to know if you are maintaining a good form while running?
    2. Is it always common to feel sore on the soles after the run (I assume it is common since I am working the muscles on my soles)? The soreness usually goes away after a day or so (just in time for another run). I usually try to land on my forefoot first and toes second.

    Thank you!
     
  2. Barefoot TJ

    Barefoot TJ Administrator
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    I would say that if you are comfortable when you run and aren’t getting injured, then your form is good for you.

    If you can get someone to video your running, you can post it here for others to critique your form.

    It is common to feel some soreness in your arch muscles after running barefoot, but the more you put into it over time it will lessen. I would feel bruising (although I couldn’t see any) in my soles after my gravel runs for sure.

    After every run on asphalt, I would feel a slight tingling throughout the soles, mostly from the balls of my feet, but as I ran more and more barefoot, the less tingling I experienced. I felt it even more during my after run showers. It reminded me of a foot massage at times. This sensation is really coming from the skin and not the fat pads. As you condition your soles, you’ll experience this less.
     
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  3. macdiver

    macdiver Barefooters
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    When I first started the soles of my feet would be sore. As you said, when the soreness is gone it is time to run again. This is one of the reasons it is better to start skin to ground rather than in minimalist shoes or sandals. The soreness keeps you from doing too much too soon and getting a real injury.
     
  4. Barefoot TJ

    Barefoot TJ Administrator
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    I like this! Believe it or not, I never thought of it quite that way, but it makes perfect sense.
     
  5. Erik82

    Erik82 Barefooters

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    I kind of disagree with that as on gravel you won't get anywhere near what you can handle on asphalt. If the running form is good and you're already used to walking on minimalistic shoes then you do have a good form but lack the ability to tolerate the barefoot sensation.

    I can easily run 10km in one go on my 5-fingers but still wouldn't want to do that completely barefoot, even on asphalt. I'm training myself to walk barefoot more and more on gravel but that takes some time. Your feet need to adapt to the sensory overload it's given as they're not used to that with normal shoes. If the pain is away after a day you're good to go.
     
    #5 Erik82, Jun 18, 2022
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2022
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  6. Erik82

    Erik82 Barefooters

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    Just to break it down.

    Sensory information comes from the nerves and the brain.
    Running form barefoot or regular comes from muscles, tendons and muscle attachment.

    So using the first as a guideline for the second isn't a good plan as they're related on a higher level but not on a basic level.

    Look at it this way. Someone who can walk on glass but has never walked barefoot will be able to tolerate the sensory information of running 10km on gravel but wil get massively injured like any other person starting with barefoot running without taking it easy.

    On the other hand someone who can run a marathon in say 3 hours in minimalistic shoes on asphalt won't be able to run 10km on gravel due to a lack of training on sensory feedback.
     
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  7. macdiver

    macdiver Barefooters
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    Erik82, I agree with your assesment that running on different surfaces - asphalt, gravel etc will lead to differnet sensory perceptions. The original poster stated that they are running on an asphalt track. My assumption (right or wrong) is that it is a nice smooth surface that is easy to run on barefoot once experienced. Even after 12+ years of barefoot running I use sandals on gravel or I have to slow way down and might as well just walk.
     
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  8. V-runner

    V-runner Barefooters

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    Hi, all! I have another question on form and transitioning (please let me know if this is the wrong thread).

    I've been running in minimal shoes for a year now (Merrel Vapor Glove, stack height 6.5 mm with lugs which don't exist any more so 5+ mm nowdays) and have just transitioned to my home-made huarache-style sandals (4 mm vibram). Failing miserably in the process since after three runs (3, 5, 7 km) I ended up with pain in my achilles all the way to the knee forcing me to stop my run (only in one leg which, admittedly, I did overuse just a tad in a 20k race few weeks back).

    Did I underestimate the switch from 5 to 4 mm? I maintained my usual cadence (cca 180) and speed bracket (5:00-5:20 min/km). Was this overzealous? Their must be more at play here than 1 mm of rubber, but I seem to be missing it...

    So disappointed! There I was, feeling extatic, gliding above the pavement like a gazelle (in a paved savannah of some sort) one moment... and road kill the next!

    Help me pick up the pieces, please.
     
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  9. Barefoot TJ

    Barefoot TJ Administrator
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    Welcome, VR! I totally understand your frustration. It's time to troubleshoot.

    It doesn't seem like you're doing too much too soon, but I'm wondering how your runs would be if you ran skin on ground. Would you have the same trouble as the huaraches or improve? When we run barefoot, we are able to interpret the signals from our feet more clearly. We can tell if we need to adjust our footfalls and our weight over our footfalls. We can tell when it's safe to speed up or slow down. We're able to adjust our knees and our hips according to what our feet are telling us. With any type of footwear, even socks, these signals are deafened, and you could get injured if you're not careful.

    I'm also wondering if perhaps you need to strengthen your calves (thereby your achilles).

    The huaraches have absolutely no support and no structure, whereas the Merrell Vapor Gloves with lugs have some, BION. There may not seem to be a big difference in height, but there is quite a difference in the construction that retains your foot in place.

    You actually can get injured by switching your footwear, even in the minshoe category, and I've seen it time and time again. We get so used to running a certain way, over certain terrains, at a certain distance, and at a certain speed, then we expect to be able to carry that gait over to different footwear that isn't supporting the foot in the same way that we're used to. When this happens, you need to slow down your progress, not necessarily your cadence. Heal completely before you try again, listen to what your feet and your body are telling you, and when you feel something is off, walk.

    Right now, the first thing you need to do is to heal (RICE) before you attempt your next run. Good luck, and let us know how it goes.
     
  10. V-runner

    V-runner Barefooters

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    Much appreciated, TJ!

    Thank you for taking the time to delve into all the possibilities. Now I'll give myself time to digest it, but it is already pointing in one clear direction: lose the rubber altogether! :barefoot:
     
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  11. Erik82

    Erik82 Barefooters

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    You don't have to go completely barefoot. I use Vibram five-fingers KSO Evo and they give you the support and groundfeel as the sole is very thin and are, in my eyes, the closest you can get to true barefoot but with a lot of support.

    I also own barefoot sandals (Vivo) but I personally wouldn't want to run in them as they're far from giving the support my other barefoot shoes give me.
     
  12. V-runner

    V-runner Barefooters

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    Thank you for the advice, Erik!

    Where I now live and work (Brussels, Belgium), I don't realistically expect to be able to go fully barefoot fulltime, if anything because of a lot of broken glass everywhere, especially around runn-able parks so I am grateful for the first-hand advice on good protection which still allows for best possible ground feel. I am also considering barefoot socks. If there are any more suggestions, please feel free!

    In the meantime, I've already started using some tartan tracks a bit, running bare-soled along with my kids and it was just great. We were all as happy as... well, children.

    Luckily, I will be staying in Croatia for the next two months so I hope to have even more opportunity to work on my form (trails, woods, coast...) before returning, when, hopefully, I'll be better posed to use either my huaraches or VFFs or anything similar.

    Enjoy the summer y'all!

    Great time to stay bare ;)
     
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  13. Thatonebloke94

    Thatonebloke94 Barefooters

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  14. Barefoot TJ

    Barefoot TJ Administrator
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    Excellent!

    I see you are running gently. Good.
    You have your weight distributed over your stride. Good.
    You are keeping a good form; mid-foot plant. Good.
    You are not heel striking. Good.

    Do you think you would feel more comfortable if you bent your knees a little more?

    How does your form change when you speed up?
     

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